Eggplant Mush Pizza. Sounds gross, looks weird, tastes good.

Originally published in Free Times in 2008.

Parenting is so hard now. There are too many rules. In the ‘70s, things were different. These are some neat things ‘70s Mom could do every summer with little-to-no guilt:

  • Ignore the kids at the pool while she talked to her friends. I wasn’t allowed within ten feet of my mom if her friends were around. She didn’t give a rat’s ass about my self esteem and I turned out fine. Right? I mean, don’t you think I turned out fine? I just want you to like me. Do you? Are you mad at me? I have a tummy ache.
  • Breastfeed. Or not, without discussing it with anyone.
  • Tan on purpose.
  • Drop the kids off at Bible School all over town without volunteering to help with a single one.
  • Smoke. In fact, smoking was essential, because if some kid got stung by a bee at the pool, all the moms would reach for their cigarette packs, so someone could cover the sting in wet tobacco. I guess the nicotine numbed it. So what if it did go right into the kid’s bloodstream?
  • Lie to the kids. “We can’t go to the pool today. It closed early because someone went to the bathroom in it yesterday. You don’t know who that was, do you?”
  • Hang out at the pool all day without accomplishing anything.
  • Let the kids hang out at the pool all day, neglecting to sign them up for a single educational camp. In fact, those camps weren’t essential to a mother’s sanity like they are now, because ‘70s Mom could just…
  • Drop the kids off at the pool as soon as it opened and leave them there for hours, marginally supervised by teenaged life guards and other parents.
  • Wear whatever kind of bathing suit she liked without getting a boob job, tummy tuck or bikini wax. To be honest, having spent my childhood eye level with the result of ‘70s Mom’s lack of attention to waxing, I’m kind of in favor of the bikini wax.
  • Drink during the day, as long as it was in a cup.

Because of all the drinking and lazing around the pool, ‘70s Mom had to be organized. She planned meals. At the end of the summer, she made the kids wander the neighborhood for a whole day while she prepared the last seasonal vegetables for freezing. The more meals she froze, the less she had to cook later. With cooking out of the way, she could sit at the kitchen table every afternoon, smoking and telling dirty jokes with her next-door neighbor.

‘70s Mom might have liked Eggplant Mush Pizza. You might like it, too!

  • Heat some olive oil in a big frying pan.
  • In a food processor, finely chop one peeled and salted eggplant. Add it to the hot pan and let it cook until most of the oil is absorbed.
  • One by one, finely chop the following in the food processor, adding each ingredient to the pan as you go:

- One onion

- One or two cups mushrooms

- Two red or yellow peppers, seeded please

- A hot pepper or two, not seeded, because the heat is in the seeds.

- Fresh herbs in the pan if you have them — oregano, basil, thyme, chives, rosemary. Or just add a few shakes of Italian Seasoning.

- As the mixture thickens, add about two cups chopped, seeded tomatoes. (You can use canned if you like.) This makes enough mush for four or five pizzas, so divide it and freeze three of them for nice easy meals later.

Eggplant mush pizza.

  • Take out a pizza crust (or make your own, you overachieving freak). Put it on a stone or pan, unless you’re one of those pretentious chef-types who believes pizza must be cooked directly on the oven rack. Frankly, this makes no difference and just leaves a mess on the bottom of your oven. There is nothing you can say to convince me otherwise.
  • Spread basil pesto on the crust. Make it in the summer when basil grows by the bushel and freeze it in ice cube trays. I use four or five cubes for this pizza. Ready made pesto is just ducky, too.

Eggplant mush pizza.

  • Spread one-fourth of the eggplant mush on top of that. Add pine nuts if you like.

Eggplant mush pizza.

  • Sprinkle a ton of mozzarella on top. You can add other cheeses, if you have them and are trying to use them up, like if you’re about to leave town for vacation or to avoid arrest.

Eggplant mush pizza.

Next time, all you have to do is buy cheese and a crust, thaw one container of mush and four or five cubes of pesto, and cook! It may not be pretty, but it sure is good.

Eggplant mush pizza.

And, oh yeah, if you don’t have a food processor, ask ‘70s Mom. She probably got three for her wedding.

Bon Appétit!

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  1. […] famille had two pizzas, one a basic pepperoni and one eggplant mush, a family favorite. (Seriously, you have to try the eggplant mush. It sounds gross, but is delicious. The eggplant mush pizza is also easy to make, keeps well in the […]

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